Idaho Conference to Focus on Exploring Hispanic Culture. (Cities Promoting Racial Equality)

Article excerpt

Hispanic culture will be on display for four days in Idaho as "Armonia: Un Encuentro Cultural" kicks off at the end of the month.

The conference, translated "Harmony: A Cultural Gathering," will run April 30-May 3 in McCall, Idaho and will focus on the culture, challenges, reality, diversity and value of the Latino community in Idaho. Hispanics are the largest minority in the state. The event is sponsored by the Association of Idaho cities and the Idaho Human Rights Campaign in cooperation with other partners.

Dunnia Burnham, farmworker monitor advocate for the Idaho Department of Labor, thought up the idea after attending Harmony, a gathering to share Native American culture to the state.

"I'm from Honduras," Burnham said. "So I had had very little exposure to Native Americans. But I when I participated, I saw that the whole concept of living together for four days really made us share and learn. And I began to wonder why that had not been done for Hispanics in Idaho."

Burnham believed that much of the success of Harmony was in the format of the gathering.

"I was amazed at how much I learned and how many contacts I made," Burnham said. "Those friendships still remain. I think it's necessary that we live together those four days. It's not the same when you go to a place or a conference, sit down for two hours and leave. You don't get to know the people who are there. You don't get to know their needs, dreams or problems."

Armonia will include several guest speakers, including keynote speaker Judge Sergio Gutierrez, who was recently appointed to the state appellate court.

There will be a panel on the history of Hispanics in Idaho, discussions on intercultural and social dynamics and higher education, and projects like a survival Spanish course and pinata making. …